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Gentleman's Military Interest Club
The Holyboy

Oldest man to die in service during the Great War?

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Does anyone know of an older soldier to die while in uniformed service during the Great War? Our WWI project research in Norwich has turned up Captain Quartermaster George William Valentine Clements 1st Royal Dragoons who died on 3 March 1916 aged 85. CWGC stated he is one of the oldest known service deaths in WWI but we are trying to find out is he the oldest? Any more biographical details or a photograph of the man himself would be much appreciated. CWGC states he was the son of the late William and Charlotte Clements, of Norwich; husband of Jane Elizabeth Clements, of 3, Chapel Field North, Norwich, the husband of Jane Elizabeth Clements, of 3, Chapel Field North, Norwich. the entry also adds he served in the Crimean War, 1853-56 (Alma, Balaklava, Inkerman and Sebastopol) and Turkish Crimea Medal.

clements small.JPG

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Wow!  He must have had some serious dirt on the MO and the Colnel to have been allowed to stay in at that age. ;)  I assume that the age on the stone is correct but suspect that a check of the records would show a far lower number.  

Not uncommon, like the Irish rifleman whose grave in Tynecot Cemetery gives his age as '15'.  presumably enlisted as '18' but by the time Imperial War Graves got the stone up somebody - family, I suspect - had corrected the record.  There are two Canadian brothers, from my town, who died in '17 an 18 and, by there enlistment records were born the same year but the younger was 18 when he died, 2 years after enlistment, so clearly 16 when he joined and lied.

And that will make establishing both youngest and oldest deaths/service tricky because many men gave false ages at both ends of the scale.  But good luck with the project!

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